The end of my weeks tend to revolve around food: potlucks, Paws diner breakfasts, sundae Fridays, and tailgating. It’s fulfilling to gather with one friend or many to share a meal, conversation, and laughter. These ritual gatherings around meals have added quality to my week in a way I would not have guessed. (These rituals also give me an extra reason to lace up my running shoes and do some extra crunches.)
For this post, I’ll focus on potlucks.
My friends from graduate school started a bi-weekly – or thereabouts – potluck. Each week has a theme: primary colors, first times, and my personal favorite so far, “the alcohol is in it.” The latter theme occurred at the potluck Thursday evening and was my best showing so far.
I prepared “Punkin Soup” inspired by a tweet from Runners’ World. The tweet caught my attention when it mentioned Dogfish Head brewing company – which has a restaurant near where my parents live and is easily my favorite place to visit when home. Following the link, I learned the recipe called for Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, thus the name. Unfortunately, that particular brew is not sold here, but I can tell you the soup is still delicious when prepared with Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale – and it was easy enough for someone who describes herself as a non-cook! If you would like to prepare the recipe, follow this link: Punkin Soup.
I suspect Runner’s World featured this recipe as a nod to the recent Dogfish Head Dash, a 5/10k race that took place last Sunday. I bring this up because my wonderful mom ran the race, and I want to give her a special shout out: Go Mom!
I spent last weekend in the company of close friends, though truly, they are more like extended family. I was at the 85th Reunion at Eagle’s Nest Camp, and we were all “growing home.”
The mountain air was fresh and brisk in the morning, and gave way to a pleasant warmth as the sun rose over the valley. We laughed as we shared memories, both new and old, and engaged in some of our favorite camp traditions: singing, meals, square dance, hiking, campfire, and ceremonies.
I feel lucky to have been a part of this reunion because I have only known of Eagle’s Nest for three years – some have been going for over 50! It seems no matter how long you have known “The Nest,” it becomes a part of your story. Friendships formed at Camp are deeper because of our shared sense of place and our commitment to community and kindness. I can honestly say that I have met some of my closest friends there.
On Saturday morning, I was able to run the big valley loop. While running, I realized a large part of my Eagle’s Nest story took place on the roads around camp. I passed the gravel road that would make a short loop, the house with the barking dog, the pasture with the horses, and the fields of corn. Because I was never a camper or student, I was always entitled to the roads as my ritual retreat. Here I could be near camp, but also away, in a time and space I created. Some who visited camp this weekend needed to go into the woods and on to the trails that were the site of some of their greatest growth and fondest memory. I needed the gently rolling pavement of Hart, Crabcreek, Old Hendersonville, and Everett. Happily, we all found our way home.
I left camp this weekend with my soul refreshed. The next reunion is in 15 years. Where I will be then is nearly impossible to guess, but for now, I know there will always be a home for me on Hart Road. I cannot think of a better way to welcome the arrival of fall.